What you see behind me used to be called Harmon Valley.

In the 1880s there were a few cattle ranches here, but enough people to warrant its own school district.

In 1911 George W Pierson bought 1500 acres here and opened up his own dude ranch.

What a dude ranch is, is where city folk, urban people could come and have a real old west experience.

It was so popular that Hoot Gibson, Victor McLaughlin, and Tom Mix, who were all silent movie actors, frequented Pierson’s dude ranch.

Well that ranch changed hands over the years several times and in 1973 Stan Oken and Jerry Siegel bought the ranch and they turned it into a resort and they changed the name.

The name they chose:

Wonder Valley, on the map of Fresno County.

Oh by the way, Wonder Valley lives in the shadow of Dalton Mountain.

So named because the outlaw Grat Dalton, of the infamous Dalton Gang, hid on the peak of the mountain for a while after he escaped from a Visalia jail.

On Christmas Eve in 1891, A Tulare county posse tried to catch him there, but he got away that time, only to meet his fate later the next year, dying of a gunshot would during a failed bank robbery attempt in Coffeyville, Kansas.

This is the barrel of a gun.

A young man up in the Dalton Mountain area actually found it in what he believed to be the hideout of the Dalton Gang.

There’s no real way to prove whether or not this barrel ever belonged to one of the Daltons, but it sure makes for a good story.

With Joe Whittington behind the camera, I’m A.J. Fox.